Zander Murray has a question: why is he the only gay male Scottish soccer player to ever come out?
In a new documentary, he seeks to answer that question.
Murray, who publicly came out as gay last fall, is the subject of a new BBC Scotland Disclosure documentary that was released Monday. In it, Murray speaks with multiple LGBTQ fans, amateur players and out referee Lloyd Wilson about how anti-gay language hurts them.
One player with an LGBTQ friendly team, Saltire Thistle, tells Murray he tried to come out when he was 18 years old, only to recede into the closet after he was shunned.
It took him another 12 years to publicly come out. His new teammates support him unequivocally.
“That broke my heart, but seeing him kicking about and chatting freely to his new teammates gave me huge hope,” Murray writes on the BBC’s website.
Murray, 30, is believed to be the first senior Scottish male soccer player to publicly come out. There is a dearth of out pro male soccer players across Europe. The last out active player who played in England’s Premier League was the late Justin Fashanu, who last played professionally in 1997.
But in recent months, a couple of other players have come out in addition to Murray. Jakub Jankto, who plays in Spain’s La Liga and also competes for the Czech Republic on the international stage, publicly came out last month.
Jake Daniels, a teenage soccer player for Blackpool FC, said he was gay last May, becoming the only out active pro player in England.
In Murray’s BBC article, he cites the importance of the Scottish Football Association introducing a new disciplinary rule that results in a 10-match ban for any player who engages in homophobic taunts or other forms of discriminatory behavior.
The new clause has been used 22 times this season, 17 of which were anti-gay offenses.
Playing for the pro team Bonnyrigg Rose, Murray hopes to be an example for other LGBTQ soccer players around the world.
“I just hope my story can help empower others to accept themselves,” he writes.
Starring in a new documentary about that very topic is one way to get his message out.